Cyborg is back! For just te second time ever, the most ferocious female fighter ever will step foot in the octagon. Also, former Bantamweight champion Renan Barao will partake in his second Featherweight fight, Heavyweight sluggers Roy Nelson and Antonio Silva will square off, and the first three main card bouts should be fireworks.
This is the 50th FS1 UFC show, and while the top three bouts feel like foregone conclusions, anything can happen. It shpuld be a fun night, and hopefully the fights deliver.
Main card (10/9c, FS1)
Godofredo Pepey (12-4) vs. Mike De La Torre (14-5, 1NC)
Want fireworks? Then put these two Featherweights in the octagon, pit them against one another, and watch magic happen. Pepey has a first degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Thai Boxing, and it shows. He’s finished 11 of his 12 wins, with the last three coming by flying knee, triangle armbar and flying triangle choke, all in the first round. All three finishes came after he started his UFC career with a 1-3 mark, and although he lost a grinding decision against human blanket Darren Elkins, he’s still an exciting fighter.
Speaking if exciting, Mike De La Torre is much the same. He’s finished 12 of his 14 career wins, and has gone the distance just three times in 20 fights. He’s 2-2 with a no contest inside the octagon, and due to his exciting style, a loss won’t result in a release. He’s going to bring it tonight, and while I think he’s got a great shot at einning, I have to pick Pepey via some crazy submission that will tear the house down. Prediction: Pepey via submission, round 2.
Thiago Santos (13-4) vs. Eric Spicely (8-1)
Middleweights take the stage next, as Santos returns after his four fight winning streak was snapped at UFC 200 by Gegard Mousasi. Santos is 5-3 inside the octagon, with four of those wins coming via first round knockout, and he’s won eight fights total via knockout.
Spicely made his UFC debut in July, fresh off competing in the Ultimate Fighter earlier this year, and lost via submission to Sam Alvey on short notice. He’s finished six of his opponents, four of them via submission. I don’t think he’ll win tonight, but I do hope he gets another chance even if he loses. Prediction: Santos via knockout, round 2.
Francisco Trinaldo (20-4) vs. Paul Felder (12-2)
Up next is a Lightweight bout that will either be a bore, or thoroughly exciting. Trinaldo is 38 years old, a black belt in Kickboxing, has 11 finishes to his credit, and also nine decisions, some of which were snoozefests. He’s huge for his weight class, 10-3 inside the octagon, and has won six straight bouts. Six of of his last seven wins have come via decision.
Meanwhile, Felder has a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, a black belt in Karate, and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He’s won seven fights via knockout, and is 4-2 in decision fights. He won his first two UFC fights, lost the next two, and has won two straight since. I can’t argue against that pattern, and I hope it’ll be exciting. A Felder win would be cool, but I see Trinaldo winning another decision, in Brazil. Prediction: Trinaldo via decision.
(11) Roy Nelson (21-13) vs. Antonio Silva (19-9-1)
Up next is a Heavyweight contest that would’ve been must watch anywhere from 2011 to 2013. Now though, it’s just depressing, as both men are shells of themselves. Nelson may be a knockout artist known for his hellacious power and granite chin, but he’s 40 years old, has lost six of his last eight fights and looked downright terrible in his last few fights. The man who’s won 14 fights via knockout and been a cult hero for years has gone the distance in four straight fights, and it’s not fun to watch him anymore, sad as it is to say.
While watching Nelson isn’t fun anymore watching Silva is depressing. He actually needs TRT due to his gigantism, and while he’s got black belts in Judo, Shotokan Karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he’s 1-4 in his last five, with each loss being a first round knockout. He’s got 14 knockout wins, but has been knckoued out eight times. He’s 37 years old, and needs to retire for the sake of his brain. I hope he doesn’t get annihilated, but I fear that he will. Prediction: Nelson via knockout, round 1.
Renan Barao (33-4, 1NC) vs. Phillipe Nover (11-6-1)
My how the mighty have fallen. Barao went from going 32-0 with a no contest since his MMA debut, to losing three of his last four. The former Bantamweight champion was stunned by TJ Dillashaw at UFC 173 in May 2014, and while he won his follow-up bout against Mitch Gagnon that December, he followed up by losing to him the following July and then lost this past May against Jeremy Stephens via decision. He looked great in the first round, but the opposite in the last two. A loss tonight won’t result in a release, but it will take him away from any form of contention for sure.
Nover is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who has five submission and decision wins apiece. He competed in the eighth season of the Ultimate Fighter back in 2008, lost in the Finale that November, and lost his next two fights which resulted in his release. He went 5-2 thereafter, and earned a return bout to the octagon. He’s 1-1 since his return, with both bouts ending via split decision, and has gone the distance ten times in 17 bouts.
Honestly, if Barao is even half of what he once was, he should win. Nover is an okay fighter, but Barao is way better on the ground, way better on the feet, and overall period. He’s got 15 submission wins, eight knockout wins, and while he is on the decline, I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t win with relative ease tonight. Prediction: Barao via knockout, round 2.
Cristiane Justino (16-1, 1NC) vs. Lina Lansberg (6-1)
In the main event of the evening, the woman many consider to be the best women’s fighter ever will take on a newcomer. That newcomer, Lina Lansberg, is no joke. She’s a multiple time Muai Thai champion, and has won six straight MMA bouts since losing her debut back in November 2012.
That said, Cyborg is Cyborg. The cut to 140 is brutal for her, but that doesn’t change the reality that she’s won 14 times via knockout, including ten times in the first round. She’s been dominant in every fight since dropping her pro debut over a decade ago. Sure, she lost her last Muai Thai bout, but that was against Jorina Baars, one of the best female Muai Thai practicioners ever. Lansberg is very good in that discipline and can pose a threat here, but I think Cyborg will win. I like both women, and an upset would be earth-shattering to many, but I’ll go with Cyborg. Prediction: Justino via tko, late round 1.